Grant Gerlock

Reporter

Grant Gerlock started covering Des Moines and central Iowa for IPR in March 2019. Before that he covered food, agriculture and rural life for Harvest Public Media at NET in Lincoln, Nebraska, where his work was recognized with a Regional Murrow Award and awards from the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.

Grant has a master’s degree in mass communication from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and graduated from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. He grew up on a farm outside of Cumberland in southwest Iowa where he listened to public radio in the tractor.

Grant’s favorite public radio program is Fresh Air.

Ways to Connect

Frank Cownie thanks supporters after winning a record fifth term as mayor of Des Moines.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie has narrowly won reelection after defeating former state Sen. Jack Hatch in Tuesday’s runoff election. Unofficial results show Cownie received 51 percent of the vote and won by only 289 votes over Hatch.

By winning a fifth term, Cownie extends his tenure as the longest-serving mayor of Iowa’s largest city.

Brett Levin / Flickr

The State Board of Education is reconsidering changes to the way schools use seclusion rooms to isolate students acting in a threatening way. The latest revisions come after several meetings were held across the state taking additional input on how to limit the use of the small rooms while allowing teachers discretion in managing their classrooms.

John Pemble / IPR file

The organizers of Iowa’s Ride, a week-long bike ride across the state, announced on Facebook Friday that the route and direction of the event will change so it won’t directly compete with RAGBRAI. By moving the event, they are hoping to satisfy cycling clubs split on choosing which ride to support.

Defense attorney Jennifer Frese holds up a card that reads the Miranda Warning, a list of rights criminal suspects are told about when they face questioning.
Brian Powers / Des Moines Register pool photo

Investigators in the death of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts were questioned in Poweshiek County court Wednesday as defense attorneys pushed to suppress evidence that led to murder charges against Christhian Bahena Rivera.

Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina speaks to Iowa Republicans at the 2019 Lincoln Reagan Dinner in downtown Des Moines.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, was in Des Moines Friday night to push conservatives in Iowa to get behind President Donald Trump’s reelection.

John Pemble / IPR file photo

A group of attorneys and Democratic lawmakers are hoping to revive a lawsuit challenging how Iowa Supreme Court justices are chosen. A law passed in the final moments of the legislative session gave the governor more influence over the process.

City Hall in downtown Des Moines
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Des Moines voters will go back to the polls next month to decide who will serve as mayor of the state’s largest city. Since no one earned a majority in Tuesday’s election, there will be a runoff vote on December 3 between the top two candidates: incumbent Mayor Frank Cownie and former state Sen. Jack Hatch.

John Pemble / IPR file

A legislative committee assigned to review Iowa tax credits received an overview of current programs from the Department of Revenue Wednesday, but some Democrats on the panel said they were hoping for more.

John Pemble / IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds will not pursue an executive order to ban vaping in Iowa. Instead, state health and education officials will focus on educational programs and a social media campaign warning minors of the health risks associated with e-cigarettes.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

Iowa’s voter identification law is creating confusion for some Des Moines college students who have out-of-state IDs. Registered voters without an Iowa ID are supposed to receive a voting card in the mail automatically, but some Drake University students say they have waited weeks without getting theirs.

John Pemble/IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds is standing by a deal reached with President Donald Trump to address farm state lawmakers’ concerns over ethanol policy.

Earlier this month the Trump administration agreed to increase the ethanol mandate to make up for exemptions granted to small oil refineries. The EPA’s subsequent proposal was panned by industry groups who said it fails to account for the total amount of ethanol exempted by the agency.

Clay Masters / IPR file

Iowa biofuels groups are calling on President Donald Trump to resolve a dispute with the Environmental Protection Agency that one farmer called “disgusting and disappointing.”

Vice President Mike Pence and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds greet the crowd at a rally on a farm near the Des Moines suburb of Waukee promoting the U.S. Mexico Canada trade agreement.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Vice President Mike Pence says Congress should act quickly to ratify a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada by the end of the year. Pence travelled to Iowa Wednesday to pressure Democratic lawmakers to hurry the trade deal through the House.

Clay Masters / IPR file

The Trump administration will add onto future ethanol requirements to make up for its waivers that allowed small oil refineries to mix less of the biofuel with gasoline. But the extra gallons may not ultimately make up for all the industry has lost.

Iowa Department of Transportation Director, Mark Lowe
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Iowans need to be sure they have an up-to-date driver’s license before new rules take effect at airports and federal buildings next year. Starting in October 2020, a Real ID will be required to pass through security lines.

The IDs have a yellow star in the corner and are issued by the state according to federal guidelines to prevent identity theft. Without a Real ID, the only way for passengers to go through security will be with a valid passport or military ID.

Brett Levin / Flickr

The Iowa Department of Education is holding events across the state taking input on the controversial practice of isolating students in so-called seclusion rooms. Much of the discussion at a meeting in Johnston Wednesday focused on how to define threatening behavior in the classroom.

Fast food workers demonstrate for higher pay in Des Moines on May 23, 2019.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

One out of every five working families in Iowa earns too little money to meet their basic needs without public support programs, according to a new analysis of the state’s cost of living by the Iowa Policy Project. That adds up to about 120,000 households failing to earn a livable income, including nearly two-thirds of single-parent families in the state.

Tuition at Iowa's public universities has been on a steady climb. Since 2009, the average cost of tuition and fees is up 40 percent. State funding has not recovered from cuts made during the Great Recession.
Rachel Radkowski / Flickr

At a welcome back event at Iowa State University in August, students filled the Great Hall in the Memorial Union. They walked past tables sponsored by campus clubs and local organizations offering every kind of free swag from can cozies to Frisbees to pizza. Many of the students were also aware of another offer that has been proposed by some Democratic candidates for president: free college tuition.

Census workers in Iowa will have a photo ID badge, said spokesperson Sam Fettig. Residents can also verify that a person works with the Census by calling the agency's Chicago office at 1-855-579-7998.
U.S. Census Bureau

Although the 2020 Census is months away, census workers are getting a head start by travelling the state to update the Census Bureau’s address list. Workers in Iowa and across the country are going to hundreds of neighborhoods looking for new housing developments and apartment buildings, or old ones that may have been torn down.

Chief Judge of the Southern District of Iowa, John Jarvey, said having a new courthouse will fix the security and accessibility problems of the current 90-year-old building.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Construction is underway on a new federal courthouse in downtown Des Moines. Funding for the project was approved by Congress in 2016, and the groundbreaking held Wednesday morning follows years of disagreement on where it should be built.

Collin Richards speaks with one of his attorneys at his sentencing hearing on August 23, 2019.
Kylee Mullen / Ames Tribune

The man who admitted to stabbing and killing Iowa State University golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Collin Richards pleaded guilty to the murder in June and was sentenced in court Friday.

Flickr / Phil Roeder

As students head back to the classroom, dozens of schools across the state are preparing to offer free lunch and breakfast. A federal program called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) pays for meals at schools with high poverty rates. Last year 157 Iowa schools were enrolled. That number is expected to go up for 2019.

Flickr / Carl T. Bergstrom

The top finishers at Quarter Horse races this weekend will have to give up a hair or two to show they were racing clean. The new protocol at Prairie Meadows in Altoona is an attempt to rid the industry of performance enhancing drugs.

Workers at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa, take the first bets at the casino's new sportsbook.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Iowa is officially open for business for sports betting. Several casinos across the state took their first wagers Thursday, making Iowa the 11th state in the U.S. to officially legalize gambling on sports.

The entrance to Lakeside Casino near Osceola, Iowa.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Classic hits play over the speakers on the casino floor at Lakeside Casino near Osceola, in southern Iowa. Players sit at slot machines with names like Buffalo Grand, Lightning Link and Wild Cougar. The games erupt with lights and alarms.

Down an escalator and beyond the bar (and more slot machines) is the corner of the casino being renovated into a sportsbook, a betting parlor dedicated to wagering on sports.

Congressman Steve King speaks to the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, on August 14, 2019.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Iowa 4th District Rep. Steve King is facing a round of criticism following comments on abortion at a meeting Wednesday with a Des Moines-area conservative group. King asked how many people would be left in the world if abortion in cases of rape or incest was commonplace throughout history.

New York City mayer Bill de Blasio speaks at the Iowa State Fair.
John Pemble / IPR

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Democrats need to put forward a vision that voters can be passionate about in order to bring voters off of the sidelines in the 2020 presidential election. The candidate for the Democratic nomination spoke to voters at the Iowa State Fair Sunday and cautioned that taking a moderate approach against President Donald Trump could hurt turnout.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at the Des Moines Register's Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.
John Pemble / IPR

Democrat Bernie Sanders laid out many of his familiar policy proposals at the Iowa State Fair Sunday. But this time he said his ideas are no longer on the political fringes, as they may have seemed to many voters when he campaigned four years-ago.

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bennet addresses a crowd at the Iowa State Fair.
John Pemble / IPR

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet says the nation’s politics were “immobilized” by partisanship before Donald Trump was elected president. The Democratic candidate for president told voters at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair that he would bridge the divide by taking steps to rein in the influence of money in American politics.

Bennet said he would look to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, reform the redistricting system to eliminate political gerrymandering and place a lifetime ban on members of Congress becoming lobbyists.

A one-cent local sales tax took effect in Des Moines in July. Now the issues is going back before voters in neighboring communities.
City of Des Moines

Residents in five Polk County cities will vote Tuesday on whether to raise their local sales tax by a penny. Urbandale, Grimes, Johnston, Clive and Bondurant will vote on the local option sales tax for the first time since it was approved in Des Moines and several suburbs in March.

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